Brown-Forman announced today it is opening the Brown-Forman Cooperage to the public for tours for the first time in its history. The Cooperage will also be re-named from Blue Grass Cooperage to Brown-Forman Cooperage to honor the parent company which continues the rich tradition of crafting barrels to this day.
The Brown-Forman Cooperage is where barrels are hand-crafted for the aging of spirits such as Jack Daniel’s, Woodford Reserve, Old Forester, Early Times, Canadian Mist, El Jimador and Herradura. Brown-Forman is the only spirits company in the world to make its own barrels, which are created from American white oak.
All Brown-Forman Cooperage tours must be setup in advance through Mint Julep Tours by calling (502) 583-1433 or visiting www.mintjuleptours.com. Also available through Mint Julep Tours is the “All Woodford, All Day Tour” which will include transportation to both the Brown-Forman Cooperage and Woodford Reserve Distillery, a tour guide host, admission to both venues and lunch.
With the opening of the Brown-Forman Cooperage for tours, the general public will have a chance to see the lumber yard, view the artful selection of staves and barrel assembly, charring and the finishing section. Visitors can also witness the historic art of barrel raising, powerful sounds and the smell of burning oak which are present every day at the Cooperage.
“The aromatic smells are the best part of the tour,” said Brown-Forman Master Distiller Chris Morris. “By toasting and charring these barrels, we activate natural flavors and aromas in the wood which give our spirits such distinct tastes.”
Brown-Forman founded the Cooperage in 1945, and while a great deal of technology has been added to enable the production of more than 1,500 barrels per day, a trip inside is a step back in time.
“We know oak barrels were introduced to the world by the Romans more than 2,000 years ago,” added Morris. “The Romans obviously didn’t have the technology we have available today, but we are still following the same processes they followed back then.”